The present all-French collection offers examples of Hertz/San Francisco recordings from each year that Victor sent its engineers out to California to record them. Indeed, the very first recording the orchestra made is here (Fra Diavolo), as well as sides from their final session (Le Cid). It was during that first group of acoustic sessions that Hertz’s only still-unpublished recording with the orchestra was made: the Prelude to Le Deluge by Saint-Saëns, with the ensemble’s concertmaster (and Menuhin pedagogue) Louis Persinger as soloist. The tremendous advance made by the introduction of electrical recording is vividly illustrated by the two versions of the Phèdre Overture, made three years apart.
The sources for the transfers were American Victor copies – arch label (“bat-wing”) pressings for the acoustic items; “Z” pressings for the Gounod and Coppélia sides; pre-war “Gold” label pressings for the electric Massenet items; and wartime “Silver” label copies for the Sylvia items.
Alfred Hertz & the San Francisco Symphony
notes from Wikipedia
Alfred Hertz (July 15, 1872 – April 17, 1942), a German conductor born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Hertz first came to prominence conducting Wagner at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Some of the performances he conducted were experimentally recorded by the Met's librarian Lionel Mapleson on what are now known as the Mapleson Cylinders and later issued on LP. He later became music director of the San Francisco Symphony, from 1915 to 1930 receiving praise and a cover story in Time for his leadership and accomplishments.
Hertz led the San Francisco Symphony's first recordings, for the Victor Talking Machine Company, from 1925 to 1928. He also conduced the orchestra in its first radio broadcasts, beginning in 1926. After 1930, Hertz guest conducted the orchestra. Hertz spent much of later years in Berkeley, California, but died in San Francisco, California at age 69.
The San Francisco Symphony (SFS) is an orchestra based in San Francisco, California. The current music director is Michael Tilson Thomas, who has held the position since September 1995.
The orchestra has long been an integral part of city life and culture in San Francisco. Its first concerts were led by conductor composer Henry Hadley, who led the Seattle Symphony Orchestra from 1909 to 1911. There were sixty musicians in the orchestra at the beginning of their first season. The first concert included music by Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Haydn, and Liszt. There were thirteen concerts in the 1911-1912 season, five of which were popular music.
Hadley was followed in 1915 by Alfred Hertz, who had conducted for many years at the Metropolitan Opera and had appeared with the company during their historic performances in San Francisco in April 1906, just prior to the earthquake and fire. Hertz helped to refine the orchestra and convinced the Victor Talking Machine Company to record it in Oakland in early 1925. Hertz also led the orchestra on a number of radio broadcasts.
The orchestra has a long history of recordings, most notably those made with Pierre Monteux for RCA Victor, Herbert Blomstedt for Decca, and Michael Tilson Thomas for BMG and the orchestra's own label, SFS Media.
The first recording, an acoustical disc of Auber's overture to Fra Diavolo, was made for Victor on January 19, 1925 under Hertz's direction. The
orchestra soon switched to electrical recordings, which continued until 1928. These recordings were produced by Victor's Oakland plant, which had
opened in 1924. During these sessions, Hertz conducted works by Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Léo Delibes, Alexander Glazunov, Charles Gounod, Fritz Kreisler, Franz Liszt, Alexandre Luigini, Jules Massenet, Felix Mendelssohn, Moritz Moszkowski, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Franz Schubert and Carl Maria von Weber. All of these recordings had only been issued on 78 rpm discs until now, and are prized by collectors.
Notes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Hertz
Notes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Symphony
(The latter are displayed here in edited form with several factual errors corrected by Mark Obert-Thorn)